The sudden death of composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch last month reverberated not only in musical circles across the country, but hit particularly hard in the local music scene. At the time of his death Hamlisch had been the Pasadena Pops’ music director and had just signed a three-year extension to his contract. His tenure at the head of the orchestra oversaw the orchestra’s transition from its former home at the Rose Bowl to its new home at the Los Angeles County Arboretum.
But it wasn’t just his orchestra that felt the sting of Hamlisch’s leave. He left behind a circle of friends that were bereaved at his death and treasured his gregarious nature and warm friendship. Beginning this weekend his orchestra and a few of those friends will say “thank you” in a way that the man himself would surely have smiled at: through music.
On Saturday, Sept. 15 at 6:30 p.m., the Ambassador Auditorium will host a gala evening that will feature a tribute to the life of Hamlisch from some of his closest friends and musical collaborators including Rita Moreno, Dave Koz, Anne Akiko Meyers, Lisa Vroman, and many others. The musical line-up will be performing songs by Hamlisch as well as selections from “The Great American Songbook.”
On Sept. 22, the Pasadena Pops will perform a free concert on the steps of Pasadena City Hall. The public is invited to attend this free tribute to Hamlisch’s life and work that will mix his beloved tunes with those of his idol George Gershwin. Emceeing the event will be actor and close friend of Hamlisch, Jason Alexander.
The orchestra will be led by Larry Blank.
Tickets and more information on the concerts is available online at www.pasadenasymphony-pops.org or by calling (626) 793-7172.